Twinsburg girls soccer looks to remain elite through trying offseason

Steve Batko
Twinsburg forward Emily Patrzyk battles for the ball with Cuyahoga Falls' Ameah McVan during a game last sason. Patrzyk scored two goals in each of Twinsburg's first two games, as the Tigers beat Nordonia 3-0 Aug. 26 and Mentor 4-3 Aug. 29.

John Garber realizes that this fall will have a different feel to it as his Twinsburg girls soccer squad deals with a crazy season.

However, despite clubs scrambling to make schedule changes and program’s focus on safety, there are attributes that will not change.

Twinsburg still has bright expectations, will be a side with talent, and the Tigers will play as a team.

As Garber enters his fifth year as head coach, Twinsburg has solid firepower and defense from a 14-3-1 club that finished second in the loaded Suburban League National Conference and reached the Division I district championship game.

The Tigers lost to state Walsh Jesuit in the district finals.

“It’s difficult to know for certain what the season will look like in the league play, considering the pandemic as all teams lost their four scrimmages, and only a handful of teams have played,” said Garber.

“With that said, I expect the Suburban League to be very competitive as usual,” he added. “There are no easy games. Over the past several seasons, the conference championship has been decided by a handful of points.”

Garber (58-14-7) is high on his list of returning players, but the Tiger program did lose possibly one of the program’s finest senior classes.

Key graduates lost include Allison King, Amy Hawersaat, Kaela Turle, Gillian Voltz, Trisha Singh, Lola Davis and Gillian McKenna.

“Allison King is the most decorated soccer player in Twinsburg soccer history, boys or girls, will be playing for Northern Kentucky University,” said Garber. “Amy Hawersaat is one the best defenders in Twinsburg girls soccer history. Allison and Amy started and played a combined 77 matches together over the past four seasons.”

Hawersaat will be playing at Ohio Dominican University. Turle and Voltz were three-year letter winners. Turle will be playing at the University of Mount Union. Singh, Davis and McKenna were all two-year vets.

“We have an experienced group of returning letter winners combined with a strong group of newcomers,” noted Garber.

Twinsburg is off to fast 2-0-0 start with a 3-0 victory in the season and home opener over Nordonia Aug. 26 and a 4-3 win at Mentor Aug. 29.

Returning seniors for the Tigers include defender Jessica Davis, midfielder Sammi DiMuzio, defender Liv Eglar, defender Tara Gairing, midfielder Lana Furniss and forward Jordan Johnson.

Juniors back include defender Erika Davis, defender Paige Hepke, forward Emily Patrzyk, forward Akira Johnson and Elliotte Schneeman.

A gifted sophomore class returning includes goalkeeper Alexis Cellura, forward Jaydn Harris, midfielder Brenna Utrup, and midfielder Klaire Weinroth.

Garber likes his club’s defense, led by experienced and talented underclassmen.

“Alexis Cellura is the starting keeper and has earned one shutout and two wins,” remarked Garber. “Elliotte Schneeman has played valuable minutes, especially against Mentor.”

Newcomers to varsity this year, according to the coach, are: seniors midfielder Mia Blackburn, midfielder Haley Boger and forward Madi Kostal; juniors include defender Carolyn Adick, defender Avery Elias, and midfielder Grace Novak; as well as sophomores Arriah Gilmer and Olivia Zelenka.

Gilmer, a forward, has made an immediate impact for the Lady Tigers. Zelenka is a defender.

“Arriah Gilmer has two goals and two assists in our first two matches while Olivia Zelenka has contributed meaningful defensive minutes during the first two minutes,” said Garber.

“I think the strength of the team is our team speed and players who display a strong passion for the game,” said out Garber.

Varsity assistant coach is Maria DeFranco while Rob Harrison is the varsity assistant coach and head JV coach.

“I am fortunate to have a strong coaching staff,” said Garber.

In the win at Mentor, Patrzyk and Gilmer each scored two goals and had one assist. Harris added an assist.

In the opener, Patrzyk had a pair of goals while Utrup also scored with assists going to Erika Davis, Harris, and Furniss. Both Schneeman and Cellura excelled for the shutout

Twinsburg plays at Cuyahoga Falls Sept. 2, at Aurora Sept. 5, and hosts North Royalton Sept. 9.